RoadBotics is on the streets collecting big data. The company uses cellphone sensors to map out roadways problems such as potholes. Then using machine learning, they assists governments in prioritizing paving and infrastructure repair. It’s a simple premise, a technical solution, and great execution when I heard about it. So I sat down with Benjamin Schmidt, PhD, President of RoadBotics for a better look.
They say you graduate from CMU twice. Once when you get the degree, then when you spin out your company. RoadBotics got those awards and more. They spun out of CMU and raised over $7.5M in funding in 2019. Venture capital is a graduation all to itself. Yet there are one more fire a startup must pass through after venture capital – getting clients. RoadBotics has driven past that hurdle as well. They’ve earned over 100 clients so far.
At its’ core, RoadBotics’ first product records and looks at sections of roadway (also the name of their software) to see if there are any cracks, potholes, bumps, or things we as consumers generally curse but never report. They retrofit a variety of cars with smartphones and custom app to capture data. Data from, you know today, not what Google maps says your house looked like years ago. They bring that and video back to their cloud where they process and highlight problematic sections of road. Then, they report it those section to be repaired.
A good portion of RoadBotics customers are happy government entities. They use RoadWay (the software) to save money. Using the processed data they can prioritize where tax dollars go. Many cities and counties around the world only have so many good days for paving and RoadWays help them fill those days with the most pressing repairs.
RoadBotics is a company using machine learning and AI in a way we know. Repairing roads. Many cities haven’t modernized their road inspections. They’re something we take for granted in this quarantine. Our Amazon packages, Instacart deliveries, and modern logistics depend on the public treasury of transportation. Benjamin Schmidt and his team have created a product that tackles that.
It’s a product I wanted to highlight because when it works we forget about road frustrations simply arrive at our next destination.